82nd Avenue walking tour

Principal Petra Callin discusses improvements needed at Madison High School, including bus shelters and median landscaping, during Wednesday’s 82nd Avenue walking tour.
Kyogen Carlson, abbot at Dharma Rain Zen Center, points out the back half of a landfill on Northeast 82nd Avenue that the Buddhist temple will transform to eventually house its congregation and programs.

About 50 people turned out Sept. 19 for an 82nd Avenue walking tour on the eastern edge of Roseway. The crowd included city officials and residents of several Northeast neighborhoods.

Central Northeast Neighbors sponsored the tour, which started at Madison High School and continued along 82nd to Northeast Beech Street.

Featured speakers included Debbie Bischoff of the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability; Petra Callin, Madison High school principal; Kyogen Carlson, abbot of Dharma Rain Zen Center; Sharon White of the Portland Bureau of Transportation; Shelli Romero of the Oregon Department of Transportation; and Brad Taylor of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz spoke briefly before heading off to another event.

The speakers and neighbors addressed concerns along the 82nd Avenue corridor, namely crime and traffic/pedestrian issues. They spoke to what is working and what’s not, efforts to control problems, and offered resources for helping target problem areas.

Principal Callin spoke to the need for bus shelter and landscaping improvements at Madison High School but said budget cuts have created challenges for meeting goals. She presented a sketch by a Madison parent showing potential safety and beautification efforts.

Several people agreed that the new Lumberyard bike park’s presence and future development of Dharma Rain on the back half of the old Siskiyou Square landfill are assets that could help boost the area over time.

Carlson discussed Dharma Rain’s plans to build a temple, school and housing while acting as stewards of wildlife at the site. The plan also envisions public walking paths and a possible dog run. Groundbreaking is expected in 2014.

Traffic officials discussed past and future studies of high traffic corridors, and said Northeast 82nd and Sandy is on the list of areas to be addressed.

Christopher Shull, of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, and Taylor talked about efforts to combat crime along 82nd. Taylor has been meeting with motel owners in an effort to reduce short-term rentals that attract prostitution. He also mentioned the potential for an 82nd Avenue foot patrol of residents to keep an eye out on problem areas.

Former Roseway Neighborhood Association President Sean Batty discussed the Roseway Vision Plan. Take a look if you haven’t — it’s thorough and very impressive; the question is, how do we implement it? Others discussed the Imagine 82nd plan, which set out a similar vision along that stretch.

The tour was a terrific community-building event and brainstorming session. What comes of it will be a joint effort between city officials and residents alike. It’s the perfect time to get involved if you’ve always wanted to. The Roseway Neighborhood Association board is holding elections at its Oct. 9 general meeting (7 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, NE 76th and Fremont). Why not join us?